Haiti tourism is on the come-up, kreyolicious cheries. Hooray.
And wait a doggone minute…I’ve seen this lady’s face before, and we all have, haven’t we kreyolicious cheries—all over Facebook and Twitter? It’s the hard-working little bee Haiti Minister of Tourism Stephanie Villedrouin Balmir— grinning at the camera, and with good reason! Steph The Bee was in Germany at ITB Berlin, one of the biggest travel trade shows in the world. Haiti was one of 165+ countries with a presence at the show. According to an article in The Bahamas Weekly, Steph Vil Bee signed a contract with AVIAREPS.
What’s AVIAREPS? According that firm’s website, the company is a ten-year firm that specializes in airlines sales and tourism marketing. May this partnership be fruitful.
In case you missed it, Expedia reported a surge in interest in Haiti on its website. The airline ticket purchase firm, which early this year bought its archrival Travelocity, now offers hotel and flight packages to Haiti.
NBA stars Chris Bosch and Dwayne Wade (accompanied by his spouse the actress Gabrielle Union) visited Haiti last month, and it was reported in some media outlets. The Haitian Times reported that entrepreneur Angela Simmons also traveled over there. I think it’s awesome that these high-profile figures are visiting Haiti. I remember reading Anthony Hattenbach’s book Stars Over Haiti about Haiti’s glorious past as a tourism destination. Hattenbach was a student at a university in Michigan when he was summoned to go to Haiti by his mother to help run a hotel named El Rancho, and his perspective is extremely interesting.
One thing about the celebrities that visited Haiti back then…I don’t know…the way it read to me in Hattenbach’s book was that it was very, very organic…so it didn’t seem like a pathetic thing…Oh, please, puh-leeze come to Haiti, like we’re begging or something. Haiti has a great many things to offer, darn it. It doesn’t need to beg or cajole.
But times have changed. In reading Hattenbach’s book, it’s apparent that Haiti’s tourism model was used by latter-day Caribbean destinations like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Martinique—but that Haiti the originator…has been lagging behind for the past couple of decades. There’s been so many victories—however small, however big—in the past year…one has to remain an optimist. If you’ve read any tourism history books, you probably can surmise that at one time or another certain countries’ tourism industries have suffered, only to resurge. But, Haiti can—and will—catch up.
Oh, it wasn’t exactly good news to read that Delta Airlines had cancelled its New York to Haiti flights due to decreased demand. Are you kidding me? Isn’t New York one of the main Haitian immigrant stations in the world? Oh, well. Maybe they’ll add it back on as times goes on.
Maybe at another time, dearest kreyolicious cheries, I can discuss my thoughts and ideas about Haiti tourism further. But for now, we’ll just mull over this little progress report. Should Haiti get an A, B, C or D…for its tourism victories so far?
What do you kreyolicious cheries think?
]Images Via: The Bahamas Weekly, Radio Television Caraibes. Street pic credit: Sunrise Airways]